News

Man devastated after discovering ‘unusable’ new-build garden needs £6,000 makeover

A man who is suffering from a terminal illness has been told that he will need to pay £6,000 to fix up his “unusable” garden.

Keith Watson, 65, is “devastated” after he moved into a new-build council owned property. The garden is on a steep downwards slope, which is difficult for Mr Watson as he has mobility problems.

He has lived in the property since April, and says he now feels “trapped” in the property. The housing provider, Trent & Dove, have said they will not help in paying the costs to repair the garden.

Mr Watson told Staffordshire Live that he was shown a different property down the road, where the garden wasn’t as bad, even though the housing provider claims that they wouldn’t pay costs because he agreed to live in the property.

“I have terminal liver disease and I want to enjoy the time I have left here. But I can’t because I feel like I’m fighting Trent & Dove constantly and putting in all my last energy in trying to get this sorted.

“It’s not a garden – it’s a hill. Honestly, pictures and video don’t do it justice, you kind of have to see it to believe it. I can’t put a shed up – it’s easily the worst one on the plot.”

Mr Watson says all he wants is to sit outside but because of the slope, he can only use the top of the garden.

“It’s made me ill – honestly. The other bungalows along this row are also bad, but not quite as bad as this end one. When I first accepted it they showed me one down the other end of the road where the hill wasn’t as bad as they hadn’t finished this one. Why should I have to sort it?”

The housing provider wouldn’t let Mr Watson out of his housing agreement when he wanted to pull out “five minutes after signing”.

“Trent & Dove don’t believe me when I say I can’t use it. I want to put nice things in my garden. They laid grass on the rubble too – there’s no top soil.

“I really have no choice. I have to fight Trent & Dove about this. I just feel like they’re not interested. You can’t speak to anyone. It’s a joke,” he said.

A spokesman for Trent & Dove, Neighbourhoods Director Martyn Hale, said: “We have a commitment to providing high quality, affordable properties that our customers are happy to call home.

“An important part of our lettings process is that shortlisted applicants are invited to view their chosen property before they accept any offer.

“The visit allows customers to get a feel for their potential new home and ensure that it fulfils their specific housing needs before signing a tenancy agreement with us. Our customer viewed this newly built property on Gladeview Drive in March 2022.

“At the time, our customer was happy with all aspects of the new home and signed their tenancy agreement when they accepted the property.

“Later, when our customer approached us regarding the garden, the team were more than happy for them to undertake some landscaping.

“As a not-for-profit landlord, maintenance of a non-communal garden is not something we cover. This is a customer’s responsibility and is part of the tenancy agreement.

“Following the subsequent concerns our customer has raised about the garden, the surveying team have made several visits to their home.

“We are satisfied that the garden does not pose any issues of immediate concern in its current guise and have taken photographs to confirm this.

“We are happy to explore with our customer other properties, should they feel that his home no longer meets their individual needs. The demand for our homes, particularly new builds, has never been higher.

“We urge all customers to carefully consider their individual needs when undertaking a property inspection before signing a tenancy agreement.

“We want all customers to be happy in their homes and always use customer feedback to further improve our homes and services.”

The firm have now said they would talk to Mr Watson about the options available to him.